holidays? brain fart in the cold….

What to casual academics do on our holidays?

Do we even have them?

I’m currently on hiatus, waiting for the last of my pay to dribble in and wondering if I’ll have any work next semester.

I’m spending a lot more time having, you know,  fun – going to art galleries, looking at objects and colours and making more colours and shapes in sketchbooks…. Seeing the Monet paintings from the Marmottan has been a delight. Unlike Paris, the stuffy old NGV forbids any sort of skethcing in their feature galleries, so doing pastel transcriptions is out of the question. However, unlike the Musee Marmottan, the works are not housed in a freezing basement, and I can stare at my favourite ‘blind’ paintings of the Giverny garden without shivering.

Segue into Monet, and James Elkins on Monet, and paint as a bodily trace is narrowly averted. I went and bought mediums though and as soon as the temperature gets above 10 degrees, I’m gonna go into my shed and squeeze some tubes…..

I’m also trying to finish a chapter on the precarious life of casual academia, and madly re-reading Derrida’s ‘The Truth in Painting’ because for some reason part of my mad mind decides that a reworking of his play on the Paraergon from Kant’s critique of judgement would allow me to critically consider the liminal position of the casual academic as something more productive than the standard whingey account of how miserable things are…..

what I’m doing is tendentious. Bourdieu in his brilliant ‘classing the art’ rework of Kant in ‘distinctions’ also has a bit of a swipe at Derrida and his word-play derives of Kant. The ’80s Derrida – with his polyglot dances through languages and layers of words and meaning – has been charicatured as the epitomy of postmodern elitist babble. and – at best, I’m not a fan of Kant, for lots of reasons (most of them Deleuzian), but like any large text – there’s stuff there, ambiguities, things, aspects, figments that can be prized apart and reworked…..

Derrida does this better than most, and damn it – he had a good heart in the end – he cared, he was a good guy, I trust him, and am happy to spend time with his plays of within, without, apart a part, above board a board and no, I am not bored at all….. kind of enchanted……

And meanwhile thinking ‘sheesh’ when and what am I going to publish real work of my own? journal articles and the like? 2 book chapters and a lapsing tome are not enough. pressure, pressure, anxiety, not doing enough…… never enough…..

it’s an anxious time.

I read, read, write, ponder, read slow works and occasionally delight in gems like this earnestly mad post on graduate art shows……


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